Month: April 2015

Mary Poppins Needs a Raise

HERE is a really funny video featuring Kristin Bell as Mary Poppins that will forever change how you say supercalifra…. (alert for those of you who aren’t used to farm talk: it ends in BS) and how you think about minimum wage.  However, Mary, even a $3 increase does NOT equal a living wage–at least not in most of the US.


This Boss Gets It…

…and he wants other bosses to get it too.  Dan Price was concerned about the growing income inequality in America and decided to make a difference.  He raised the minimum wage at his company, Gravity Payments, to $70,000 per year!  Thirty of his employees saw their pay double overnight!  How did he do it?  He cut his own salary to $70,000 a year (from $1 million).

Watch Dan talk about his decision on NBC’S Today Show.

The New York Times covered the story as well.

Fight For $15 on 4/15

Tomorrow, at 4 pm, thousands of low-wage workers (and people who support them) will take their message to the streets.  The message: “No one can live on minimum wage!”  For those in Logan Square, Chicago, transportation is available from Humboldt Park United Methodist Church, 2020 N. Mozart, and Nuestra Señora De Las Americas, Logan Blvd and Francisco.


The End…The Beginning

The 2015 Lenten Compact, “Fast Food Fast for Worker Justice” has ended.  You can go back to your Big Macs and your Whoppers, your Frosties and your fries, your Lattes and your Big Gulps.  Or can you?

How have you been challenged and changed by your participation in this year’s Compact?  How has your view of workers in low-wage jobs shifted?  How do you feel about the struggles faced by those who experience wage theft or slavery?  How will you live differently beyond Lent and into Easter and God’s new day?

Share your experience so we can all grow in our discipleship.

April 4, 2011

Four years ago today, Aminul Islam disappeared.  Two days later, his tortured body was found.  Mr. Islam was a labor organizer in Bangladesh, the home to thousands of sweatshops making clothing for GAP, American Eagle and other global brands.

On April 4, he was advocating for worker justice.  On April 4, he died.  No one knows who killed him.  However, the New York Times reported, “Mr. Islam’s work often made him a target. In 2010, after angry wage protests shook the country, the authorities charged Mr. Islam and two of his bosses with “antistate” activities. Harassment by police and intelligence agents became so intense that Mr. Islam’s bosses sought a truce: a secret meeting was held between Mr. Islam and the director of the main domestic spying agency, the National Security Intelligence Agency, or N.S.I.”

The shadow of the cross continues to be seen and felt.

Read the entire story of Aminul Islam’s murder HERE.

April 3, 1968

The cross is a symbol of state violence used against those who are considered threats to the power of the state.  In Jesus’ day, the cross was reserved for people accused (and convicted) of sedition and treason against the Roman Empire.  In our day, the spirit of the cross can be seen in the harassment, threats and even execution of those who stand up for worker justice.  Forty-seven years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr. traveled to Memphis, TN, to support striking sanitation workers and delivered his “I’ve Been To the Mountaintop” speech.  On April 4, he was killed while standing on his motel room balcony.   Questions remain about the roll of the FBI in King’s assassination.  For years, the FBI had kept King under constant surveillance, secretly tapping his phone lines and following his every move.  FBI Deputy Director at the time, William C. Sullivan, acknowledged in a memo that King was, “the target of an intensive campaign by the FBI to neutralize him as an effective civil rights leader.”

Read his final speech HERE.


April 2, 2005

On this date, Pope John Paul II died after 27 years of serving as pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.  As a priest in Poland, he had been involved in the formation of “Solidarity”, the Polish trade union; and as Pope, he wrote extensively about work and human rights, becoming known as a “Champion of Workers’ Rights.”  One of his encyclicals, “On Human Work” affirmed the need for just wages, the rights to organize and the value of all work and all workers.

Read “On Human Work” HERE.

Breaking News: McDonalds is Raising Wages!

The New York Times reported just minutes ago that McDonald’s corporation has announced that it will raise wages at the corporate owned stores.  About 90,000 workers will see their wages increase to an average of $9.90 in July.  Unfortunately, this does not apply to the 750,000 workers at franchise owned stores and it is a far cry from the $15 an hour that workers have pushed for.  Yet, it is evident that companies like Wal-Mart, Target and McDonalds are finally realizing that ignoring the issue of low wages does nothing for their bottom line or their reputation in the community.  Keep the Fast!

April 1, 1946

On this date, 400,000 coal miners in 26 states began a strike for safer working conditions and better wages.  Six weeks later, President Harry Truman took control of the mines and ordered the miners back to work without agreeing to any of the demands.  United Mine Workers of America leader John L. Lewis led the workers off the job again in November of 1946.  Despite a court injunction, the miners refused to return to the mines.  John Lewis was jailed and the UMWA was fined 3.5 million dollars.  Finally in December, the government agreed to the demands and the miners returned to their jobs.

Coal Mining has always been dangerous work.  Between 1940-1945, 7,942 miners lost their lives in coal mining accidents and explosions, an average of 1,588 per year.  Thousands more died of black lung disease.  Following the UMWA strike of 1946, accidental death was reduced significantly in mines.  Between 1947-1966, 9,498 miners died, an average of 475 per year.